Patna, June 16: Shopkeepers and visitors are up in arms against the Patna Municipal Corporation’s proposal of a pay-and-park system at Mauryalok complex, one of the biggest commercial hubs in the state capital.
Sources said the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC), which has its headquarters at Mauryalok, has planned to deploy private guards and install entry machines equipped with ticket-vending equipment at all five entrance gates of the hub. The machine would record the registration number and time of entry of each vehicle on the Mauryalok premises and issue a corresponding ticket to the vehicle owner/ driver. Separate parking lots for two-wheelers and four-wheelers would be available.
However, Mauryalok Shopkeepers’ Association today opposed the proposed pay-and-park system outright, alleging that PMC has tied up with private contractors, who are eyeing huge sums of money that would be generated from parking charges.
“Around 2,000 to 3,000 vehicles are parked at Mauryalok everyday. People come here for shopping and to hang out. If the civic body startS charging for parking, then many people would avoid coming to the complex except for essential purposes. We also believe that PMC has tied up with private contractors who know that a huge amount of money would be collected from parking charges everyday,” said Rajesh Kumar ‘Dablu’, the president of Mauryalok Shopkeepers’ Association.
| Members of Mauryalok Shopkeepers’ Association address a news meet in Patna on Saturday. Picture by Jai Prakash
Dablu said the shop- keepers’ association observed a three-day shutdown in 2006, when a similar attempt had been made to implement a pay-and-park system according to the directives of Patna divisional commissioner K.P. Ramaiah.
“We also want to streamline the parking at the complex, as customers are often inconvenienced owing to haphazard parking. But we do not want that at the cost of charging money from consumers, else they would hesitate coming to this market. Instead, the shopkeepers are ready to pay higher maintenance charges to PMC and the extra money can be utilised for putting security and parking guards,” said Jitendra Sharma, the owner of Alok Furnishing at A-block of Mauryalok.
Visitors were also vocal against the proposed parking system. “We often go to Mauryalok to hang out and spend several hours there. If we are asked to pay parking charges, then we might not be able to go there frequently,” said Sumit Kumar, a resident of Exhibition Road.
“Shopping is a time-consuming exercise and it would be really difficult to keep tabs on time. If the PMC wants to generate revenue, then there are various other ways to do so without troubling the common people. When PMC can’t keep its own building clean, then on what grounds is it asking for parking charges?” said Amrita Dubey, a resident of Boring Road.
PMC also plans to create vending zones in the Mauryalok parking area for hundreds of unauthorised eateries inside the complex.